Entertainment Bias

The other day I came across a magazine ad with the heading of “Attraction Is Only Natural,” a picture below, and the following language:

“The [XXXX] instantly draws you in. And with the instant access to information and entertainment via the intuitive Touch Pro Duo dual touchscreen infotainment system and state- of-the-art sound provided by audio experts Meridian, every journey becomes an immersive, first-class travel experience. You’ll find your preference for the new [XXXXX] is only natural.”

I’m not cherry-picking the text. This was the only text accompanying the graphics, except for the product name, which was Range Rover. The Range Rover may be a luxury SUV, but it’s still a vehicle whose ostensible purpose is transportation, not entertainment.

By the same token, the ostensible purpose of cell-phones is communication, but virtually every new bell and whistle on them seems to focus on entertainment.

Likewise, media news programs focus on entertainment and outrage [which is another form of entertainment]. These days, teachers, especially college professors, are urged to “keep student interest,” which is effectively code for “keep them entertained, no matter if it requires dumbing the curriculum down.”

And this focus on entertainment has a far higher cost that most people really want to acknowledge. For example, over the last decade, texting and walking has caused over 11,000 injuries and deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA figures also show that, every day, nine people are killed and 1,000 are injured by distracted drivers, most of whom are texting or using in-car entertainment devices.

Another lesser cost, but one that is still considerable, is the use of business computers to play games or to access Facebook and other social media. That just might be another reason why businesses are trying to automate more jobs.

And certainly, the news media’s emphasis on entertainment value may have helped their bottom line, but it’s definitely not helped our political situation or public understanding.

Entertainment has its place, but not in everything. Not if we want to survive as an educated, productive, and self-governing nation.

2 thoughts on “Entertainment Bias”

  1. M. Kilian says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. I find it heartbreaking to see young mothers walking with their children these days, head down on a phone while a kid who’s barely five years of age has their attention completely rapt by a tablet device. No good can come of such stunted development, both in the child and the adult.

  2. Tom says:


    There’s the rub.

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